A drug dealer who found murdered toddler James Bulger's body is behind bars after claiming his discovery 24 years ago led him into a life of crime.

Terence Riley and his older brother James, 14, stumbled across the two-year-old body on a Merseyside railway line in 1993. At the time, Riley was a 13-year-old schoolboy, the Daily Telegraph reports.

In 2009 the self-confessed "scumbag" was jailed for 12 years in 2009 after being extradited from Holland to face justice over a £4 million drugs conspiracy.

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Now Liverpool Crown Court has heard following his prison release Riley, 37, returned to crime - by leading police on a high speed chase, zooming at 50mph in a 20mph zone.

Judge Anil Murray accepted he may have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder linked to his discovery of toddler James - but due to his "bad record" for driving, jailed him for 12 months.

Older sibling James Riley has previously also used the discovery of the boy's body to explain his own descent into crime.

In 2010, James Riley appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for stealing a bottle of brandy with a criminal record of 47 convictions and argued it was due to finding the dead child.

Brendan Carville, defending, said: "The horror of what he found on that occasion with his brother and two friends is something he has lived with ever since.

"Rather than taking advantage of counselling and the like he turned to alcohol and drugs."

James was abducted from The Strand shopping centre in Bootle by 10-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson on February 12, 1993.

Within three hours, the toddler was dead, but his body was only discovered on the railway line by the Riley brothers the following Sunday.


Venables and Thompson were sent to secure children's homes and have since been given fresh identities.

Speaking in 2003, the Riley's grandmother Ann Nesbitt explained how their traumatic discovery has torn their family apart.

Nesbitt said: "Neither has spoken of it. They bottled it up.

"We tried to get the boys to talk about it, but they used to become hysterical, screaming they didn't want to think about it.

"After that day James went off the rails and Terence's personality changed totally. We hardly see him these days, but we know it was finding James' body that changed him.

"Every night I pray for little James, but I also pray for my grandsons."

A security camera grab of murder victim James Bulger.
A security camera grab of murder victim James Bulger.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Terence Riley, recently of Vauxhall, Liverpool, led police on a high speed chase across Merseyside on April 9.

It ended with him losing control and smashing head-on into another car, injuring Darren Evans, Tina Barnes and their 11-year-old son.

Prosecutor Derek Jones said officers in an unmarked car saw a Ford Focus speed down a road in Litherland at 12.40pm so they activated their sirens.

But the car accelerated to 40mph, leaving behind "dust and debris", and Riley undertook and overtook other vehicles at 50mph in the residential 20mph zone.

He bounced over speed bumps, ignored give way signs until eventually crashing into the family's Volkswagen Passat.

Riley, who suffered a lump to his head, ran away but was caught by an officer and admitted: "I was at a party. I'm high!"

A swab test showed the presence of cocaine but he refused to give a blood sample when taken to hospital.

His victims were treated for cuts, bruises and chest pain, while the child was left shaking and feeling sick.

When interviewed by police, Riley asked about the boy's condition and described himself as a "scumbag".

He admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and failing to provide a blood sample.

Louise Santamera, defending Riley, said he "recklessly" decided to drive home in her car and "panicked" when he saw police because of his road ban.

Santamera said: "Mr Riley is very sorry. He was particularly anxious about the young boy."

Santamera said: "He has recently become a father, something that has filled him with joy, and as he put it, is 'motivation to get my life on the straight and narrow."